Keep the pitcher’s elbow load in the game

Biomechanical analysis of injury mechanisms in baseball pitching towards injury prevention

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In baseball pitching, high performance is closely related to injuries. The baseball pitch is a rapid, full-body throwing motion that culminates in a ballistic motion of the throwing arm, creating high ball velocity but exposing the elbow to significant loads. As a result, injuries to the medial side of the elbow involving the Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) are currently a major concern in baseball pitchers at all levels of play. UCL injuries are recently prevalent among youth pitchers and injury rates have gradually increased over the years. It is important to prevent injuries in (youth) pitchers, not only to attain healthy pitching performance but also to avoid injuries at older ages. The general aim underlying the present dissertation is to establish biomechanical injury mechanisms related to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament in baseball pitchers. Knowledge of these mechanisms can eventually be used to develop an ‘early warning system’ to safeguard baseball pitchers from UCL injuries. This dissertation is divided into three parts.